Guarding Each Other's Honor

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NavyNurse Removing distinctions.... Each time this country sends our young men and women into war we are afflicted with those who inflate their service for their own purposes. Much effort is spent by many in the veterans community in unmasking these individuals, an effort that too often results in the justice system authorities saying “This isn’t important enough for us to take any action” as is currently the case with Rick Strandlof in Colorado. Unfortunately though, another set of circumstances exists where we as veterans downgrade each other’s service. My own generation seems to have been the one that began the routine of referring to veterans as either Vietnam veterans or Vietnam-era veterans depending on where the individual served. Anyone ever heard of a World War II-era veteran or a Korea-era veteran. I am sad to belong to the generation that felt the need to make the distinction that it was important to know where someone served to know how honorable their service was. The honorable discharge that we received makes us veterans and denotes the honor of that status. The location of that service was not important to denote that honor. The badges and ribbons and patches that most of us proudly display clearly indicate the quality of that service and particularly set apart those with combat service. If there is to be a distinction it should be that one, combat service. Service in a hazardous duty zone does not constitute combat service. As we send the Honor Flights to Washington DC for those veterans to visit the World War II memorial, no one would dare stand at the bottom of the stairs and ask, “Are you a World War II veteran or just a World War II-era veteran?” but yet we do that all the time with the Vietnam generation. I understand some of the reasoning but don’t believe that constitutes justification. Regardless, if the Vietnam generation chooses to continue that practice on ourselves, so be it. My fervent hope is that the practice dies with us. If I ever hear the term OEF-era veteran, it will be a sad day since I will know that we will have stopped guarding each other’s honor. What happened to many of our Vietnam comrades as they came home should never happen again. We need to lead the fight there and to make sure that every veteran’s service is honored equally regardless of where they served. (Edited for proper author)
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Its a very interest point view! I agree with you point. Excuseme for my bad english, thanks! Adolf

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.